A simple way to put a new spin on your workouts is to include combo moves where you combine two or more exercises in each rep. Combination exercises help you build muscle, shed fat, and improve your fitness. These exercises are perfect when you’re short on time, in a fat loss phase, or looking to vary your workouts.
Combination exercises don’t require the skill of complexes, which is great for older, less experienced athletes and perfect if you like a challenge. Here, we’ll dive into the pros and cons of combo exercises and three combo moves that will have you sweating and smiling in no time.
WHAT ARE COMBINED EXERCISES?
Combination exercises take two different exercises and combine them. You do one rep of the first exercise and one rep of the second and keep alternating between the two moves until your set is complete. Here is a popular example.
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF COMBINED EXERCISES
Combination exercises are great when used the right way and used correctly for your goals. But they are only for some and not suitable for some purposes. Here are the pros and cons of performing combination exercises.
- Works more muscles in less time, which is great if you’re short on workout time.
- Increases your overall conditioning, especially when transitioning from lower to upper body exercise.
- Gives you a variety of exercises and a challenge you’re sure to enjoy.
- Not ideal if your goal is maximum strength because you’re using submaximal weight for one of your lifts.
- Combining two exercises increases the risk of injury, especially when fatigued.
- You have to learn two movements, and it takes time to learn how to combine them.
COMBINED EXERCISES CONSIDERATIONS
You can’t combine two exercises and call it a combination exercise – there has to be a rhyme and a reason for it to work. Here are some considerations for performing and choosing your combination exercise.
- Choose drills with a smooth transition and similar loading needs: When you combine two exercises, they should have a smooth transition from one to the other. For example, a dumbbell; crouch to press. Avoid combinations of exercises that have different resistance needs, for example, combining a deadlift with a reverse curl.
- Select the correct resistor: When selecting a resistance for a combination exercise, use the weight of the “weaker” of the two. For example, if you can overhead press 200 pounds and squat 300 pounds, use 200 pounds for the squat-to-press exercise.
- Repeat range: Combo exercises, due to their extended time under tension and strenuous nature, keep rep ranges on the lower end, around 6-12 reps, for quality.
- Programming Suggestions: It’s best to schedule them at the start of your workout for better technique and quality when you’re fresh. Before embarking on your working series, do a light warm-up to pace the movement and determine your working weight.
3 EXERCISES COMBINED FOR BETTER STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING
Now that you know more about combination exercises and how and why to program them, here are three great combination exercises to rotate.